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Full text of "Rutland Historical Society Quarterly Vol.5, No.4, 1975"

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Volume V No. 4 Fall 1975 


The Rutland Historical Society publishes the Quarterly for its members 
and the residents of the original town of Rutland, Vermont, now comprising 
the towns of West Rutland, Proctor, Rutland and the City of Rutland. Member- 
ship in the Society is open to all upon payment of dues to the treasurer. Annual 
dues, payable in October, are two dollars for regular members, or ten dollars 
for contributing members. 

The annual meeting of the Society was held in the first floor hearing room of 
the Rutland County Court House on October 5. A capacity crowd heard guest 
.speaker Dr. Samuel Engle Burr, jr. speak on "Aaron Burr in New England". 
The results of the election for officers: 

President: Arch J. Todd. Rutland Town 
Vice President: Alan G. Ridlon. Clarendon 
Secretary: Frances V). Frederick. Rutland City 
Treasurer: George J. Covalt. West Rutland 
Directors to serve two years : 
Kenneth S. Fisher. Rutland City 
Eleanor D. Douglas. Rutland City 
F. P. Elwert. Rutland City 



UPS i i»;i ■ ii 

ii* ■■——»'■ 

The "most awful brick structure" referred to by Tom Ripley had stood on this 
Rite- the northeast corner of West and Church Streets. The -present Longfellow School 
Z8 shown under construction in 1890. TJie general contractor was Bela Dexter, 
grandfather of the donor of this photo, Warren W. Dexter. 


I was five years old when what was optomistically called my education 
began, in a most awful brick structure of post-bellum design. The school housed 
the baby class, the second grade, <fe the middle school; while upstairs was the 
grammar school where the tough guys made it hot for a succession of young 
women teachers. 

No lawns, no gravelled paths, no flowering shrubs graced the approach 
to this temple of learning; mud in spring, frozen ruts in autumn and drifts in 
winter surrounded it. "Out back" stood the usual row of small structures, un- 
speakable in their filth. We, as carefully brought up children, were not permitted 
to enter them. "Teacher, may I go out?" was the formula, accompanied by the 
time-honored gesture of snapping fingers; at which Teacher, her face reminiscent 
of a badly nicked battle ax, barked in her machine-gun voice, "Yea— be spry." 
By special arrangement we were allowed to trot home, 1 and back when wrig- 
gling legs warned that it was time to do something about it. The "privilidged 
classes" we were. 

In the grammar school we acquired the Fourth Reader, a sombre-looking 
volume. In it was a poem entitled "Speak Gently to the Erring." What was 
the '"Erring"? Some kind of fish came vaguely to my mind, and there it stuck. 
Why speak gently to it? The question didn't bother me at all . . . 

From A VERMONT BOYHOOD by Thomas Emerson Ripley. 

'Tom Ripley's home was at northeast corner of West and Cottage Streets. 
The school was a short block away, where Longfellow is now. 


On the front cover and running onto the back cover is a photograph of a 
Rutland High School group about 1897. At left in the rear row is Remice R. 
Tuttle, a founding member of the Society. On the back cover and at the right 
of the rear row is Ruby Clark (Barnard) mother of members Doris Barnard 
Dolt and Ruth Barnard. The photo is by G. H. Emery; gift of Ruth Barnard. 

On the next two pages is a sports cartoon by William O'Neil from the 
December 1932 issue of the W r est Rutland High School "Green and Gold." 


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The home of the Rutland English and Classical Institute for many years ivas 
here at 61 South Main Street, the so-called Chipman, Strong or Morse home. 


The "Academy" was the second story of the old town hall, just beyond the 
shadow of the tall church steeple. The stairs were rough, and not always over- 
clean. The one large room, with its whitewashed walls and its many windows, 
was plain as a flag-staff. Two or three blackboards, dingy with age, faced the 
five rows of dull red desks that ran backward to the farthest wall. The teacher's 
large desk was at the right of the door. In the middle of the room there was a 
great box-stove and there may have been a chair of two for chance visitors. 
That was all. There was not a globe, nor a map, nor a picture. There may have 
been a big dictionary for the common weal, but I am not sure even of that. 

As for the scholars, they were a motley group— democratic to the last 
degree. As we crowded round the stove on a keen, frosty morning, when all 
the windows were ground glass and every nail in the heavy door was white, 
"cloth of frieze" touched "cloth of gold," and neither was disturbed by the 

The village Academy of that day taught concentration if it taught nothing 
else. (Study and recitation went on in the same room and at the same time. We 
had but few iron-clad rules. Whispering inordinately was, of course, not allowable, 
but if there was real occasion for speaking we spoke, and no one was the worse 
for it. We had never heard the expression "good form." It was not in vogue 
then. But if it had been ? we would have said with one voice that it was not good 
form to disturb others. 


The RKC1 football team of 1895. Third from left in rear row is Warren E. 
Potter, uncle of member Noel faird. Both pictures are from the student magazine of 
the RECl, a run, of which was given the Society by Mr. Laird. 

Perhaps the question oftenest asked of those who have dared to live beyond 
fourscore is "where and how were you educated?'' But where and when does 
education begin? With the child's first "breath? For myself I have no recollection 
of any time when I could not read fluently; but I besan to browse at my own 
sweet will in my father's well-chosen library -a rather large one for that time 
and place — when I was six years old. Sometimes I think the best part of my 
rather desultory education was the result of that browsing. It taught me the 
love of books, and a kind of hero-worship that was closely akin to reverence for 
the men who wrote them. 

From "When I Was a School-Girl" in Harper's Bazaar. 
Gift of Frank P. Sullivan. 

October, 1912. 






101 Center St. 

Rutland, Vt. 


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Rutland, Vermont 
Permit No. 12